Widener Rallies to Complete Doubleheader Sweep of Softball, 3-0 and 9-8 (8)
CHESTER, Pa. - It was a tough-luck night for the Swarthmore softball team (7-5), which dropped a pair of close games to 320 rival Widener by the scores of 3-0 and 9-8 (8 innings).
Junior Kate Smayda continued her excellent start to the 2012 season, finishing the doubleheader with four hits, including two doubles. Senior Elizabeth Cushing hit three doubles in Garnet's second game while junior Rose Pitkin, sophomore Jesslyn Lammerts and freshman Chelsea Matzko also finished the twinbill with three hits apiece.
Sophomore Melissa O'Connor (3-3) took the loss in both games despite pitching well. O'Connor surrendered just three earned runs over 9.2 innings while striking out 12 Pride batters.
In the first game, the Garnet out-hit the Pride (5-3), but a three-run third inning -- fueled by a two-run home run from Shelby Mackintosh -- gave Widener all the runs it needed for the 3-0 victory. In the second game, Swarthmore raced to 6-0 lead after 2.5 innings, only to see the Pride rally for the extra-innings win. Playing a big role in the Widener comeback was Casey Hargardon, who finished the game with seven RBI on three hits, finishing just a single shy of the cycle. She hit a game-tying grand slam in the sixth inning, while a double from Carissa Harris won the game for the Pride in the bottom of the eighth inning.
It was quite a promising start for the Garnet in the second game. Swat pounded out six hits in the opening frame, including RBI doubles from Cushing and Pitkin, to build a 4-0 lead. The Garnet extended its lead over the next two innings, adding one run in each of the second and third innings to take a commanding 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
The Pride sliced the lead in half (6-3) in the bottom of third thanks to a bases-clearing triple from Hargardon, but Swarthmore was undaunted, adding two more runs in the top of the fourth. Cushing added yet another double while Matzko and freshman Laurie Sellers both knocked home runners.
Down 8-4 in the bottom of sixth, the Pride pushed four unearned runs across the board to even the score. After a hit, walk and Garnet error, Hargardon's two-out grand slam off of O'Connor - who entered the game in relief of starter Sarina Lowe - capped the Widener rally.
The Pride almost won the game in the bottom of the seventh, but Smayda gunned down the go-ahead runner at the plate with an on-target laser from centerfield, sending the game to extra-innings.
With the international tiebreaker rules in effect, Swarthmore stranded runners on second and third, coming up empty in the top of the eighth. With another chance to win, the Pride did not waste its second chance, as leadoff hitter Harris doubled to bring home the winning run.
Swarthmore returns to action on Saturday at Rutgers-Newark.